Saturday, January 14, 2006


I'm supposed to e-mail my bio ASAP to two places, but need help figuring out this strange little phenomenon. Such an odd, horn-tooting thing. I have written many, and liked none that I have come up with . . . The ones that I see for other poets that I have liked say something like, "Joe Shmo lives in Vermont with his dog Ray." Brief and no tooting whatsoever - except maybe to say that I am such an amazing poet, I don't need to list my creds, I just AM. Anyway, I'm posting mine now in all of its flimsy glory.

J.B. Rowell lives in Durham, North Carolina, where she writes poetry and teaches third grade. She is co-host of the daily poetry blog MOM AND APPLE PIE ( Work by the poet has appeared in the Birmingham Arts Journal, and is forthcoming in the January 2006 issue of Verse Libre Quarterly. Rowell will also have her poetry featured online by North Carolina poet laureate Kathryn Stripling Byer on the NC Arts Council web site (



Not sure why I've been going by J.B. instead of Julia. I think I was testing out the waters in publishing with a gender-neutral name, but my poems usually give my gender away anyway. So what do you think - J.B. Rowell or Julia Rowell or a pen name like Marie Verona? :)


Do I stick with the straightforward approach or do I try to be witty? I think I already know the answer to that one!

Do I go back to my college days: bachelors in English, poetry and general editor for literary mag, award? That's over ten years ago . . .

Any other dos, don'ts, or editing suggestions are welcome. Thanks!


Blogger reniebob said...

It really is a personal thing... sorta like an Christmas letter, eh? You know the ones you get where everything's all great and wonderful, and you're like, yeah, right, WHATEVER. Show me real life, you know? I think YOUR bio looks good! I love knowing something personal about the what they enjoy besides poetry. I also enjoy a little humor in a bio. (Never seem to be able to pull that off myself, but I love it when others can.) Listing degrees seems a bit pretentious to me, but if that's what's important to you... I guess the thing to keep in mind is that a bio is another opportunity for you to tell something about yourself that people will relate to. (The bio is also a form of communication.) I like it when instead of creds, writers will say something about where the poem came from or what poet they enjoy or where/when they like to write. Shorter is better, I think! Also, current info. I always have the urge to mention "husband and three sons" in a bio... but then I had an editor once who said, unless the poem is about the dog or family, do not include the dog or family in your bio. Grrr.... Anyway, J.B. sounds hip and cool. You ARE Julia. They're both great. This might be the time to get consistent, though. Good luck! And good for you getting "bio woes." There are worse problems. :)

8:58 AM, January 14, 2006  
Blogger J.B. Rowell said...

Thanks Irene and Bare Rock Poets who e--mailed me - I'm going with the straightforward approach for now. I can be witty when I'm famous! lol I'm really just nervous that if I try to be funny or quirky it will fall flat. Chirp. Chirp. I left out degrees, especially since they're practically expired by now, and I left out family/dog stuff. It's too bad I don't Irish dance anymore! That was an interesting tidbit, and I also fell off the yoga wagon. (Joining Curves is not so interesting.) So for the name thing, I'm sticking with Julia mostly for consistency's sake, and J.B. will just be for blogging. J.B.=Julia Bloggin' :)

3:51 PM, January 14, 2006  
Blogger Pris said...

I don't think anybody but you can decide what type of bio works for you. I read all kinds, too. I like a mix of the personal and where I've published in mine. I don't think listing some publications is being braggy or pretentious. I worked hard to get them and want to share that. I DO say in my bio that I like with my husband, one crazy dog and a cat who rode out Hurricane Wilma with her newborns at the end of my bios.

I think if that's ALL I said it would be goofy, but it's one touch of personal/humor. I also start out with something a little personal and that varies. So go for whatever feels right. Same with the name, but yes, pick one and stick to it so people will recognize you the next time.

As for the photo's good of you, but as an amateur photographer of more years than I care to count, you look very aware of the camera here, like it's intruding on you. I'd like to see something more relaxed in your face and eyes. the eyes are everything. Next time you try one, close your eyes first and visualize yourself somewhere you enjoy being, then let the other person snap the shutter.

Pris, who prob told u waaay more than you wanted to know.

3:55 PM, January 14, 2006  
Blogger Pris said...

PS we must've been posting at the same time since your comment wasn't there as I was babbling on lol

3:57 PM, January 14, 2006  
Blogger J.B. Rowell said...

I appreciate your comments Pris. And I know that in the photo I am too aware of being in a photo, but it will do for now. It is just amazing that it is a photo of just me - no kids - and my eyes may also be saying how much I HATE photos of me! I'll try the eyes closing technique next time. Thanks. I like adding the personal and the humor, and agree it should be balanced. Feel free to ramble here ANY TIME!

4:19 PM, January 14, 2006  
Blogger Michelle e o said...

JB- The recent bio I sent in for the chap says "writing a bio is harder than any poem I've ever written"

Ha! I know exactly where you're coming from. It's mind numbing for me.

11:14 AM, January 15, 2006  
Blogger J.B. Rowell said...

Hi Michelle - I did write a bio poem, made it a little more interesting, if not whiney . . .

12:03 PM, January 15, 2006  

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